Wales Bonner wins 2016 LVMH Prize

What you need to know about London-based designer Grace Wales Bonner

By Andrea Tim | Published: 17 Jun 2016

2016 LVMH Prize
Photo: LVMH Prize/Instagram

Grace Wales Bonner has won the coveted LVMH Prize, which gives her a €300,000 grant and coaching from LVMH for 12 months to develop her brand Wales Bonner. The 25-year-old was presented with her award yesterday at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris by actress Léa Seydoux.

Bonner beat 22 other LVMH Prize hopefuls this year; the group was narrowed down to eight in March. The other 7 finalists are Aalto (by Tuomas Merikoski), Alyx (by Matthew Williams), Brandon Maxwell, Facetasm (by Hiromichi Ochiai), Koché (by Christelle Kocher), Vejas (by Vejas Kruszewski) and Y/Project (by Glenn Martens). Self-taught Canadian designer Kruszewski also won the Special Prize of €150,000 and a year of coaching.

The third edition of the LVMH Prize also awarded three fashion school graduates Ayo Keys, Francesca Richiardi and Beth Hall with a €10,000 prize and a position at an LVMH-held brand for one year. Keys, from Parsons The New School for Design, joins Marc Jacobs; Richiardi, from Accademia Costume & Moda, joins Fendi; Hall, from University of Westminster joins Loewe.

Delphine Arnault, Executive vice president of LVMH had this to say about Bonner: "Grace Wales Bonner of Wales Bonner impressed the jury with her soulful work on refined shapes, creating hybrid forms that marry European and African style."

Here are some interesting facts about Grace Wales Bonner.

1. In the LVMH Prize's 3-year history, Bonner is the third London-based designer and third Central Saint Martins graduate to win the award. She graduated in 2014.
2. She is a menswear and womenswear designer.
3. She won Emerging Menswear Designer at the British Fashion Awards in 2015.
4. Her work explores black culture and shows a mix of European and African elements, all of which she does with extensive research and historical references.
5. She recently presented her SS17 collection for menswear (mixed with womenswear) in London to rave reviews; critics praised her sharp tailoring and gender-fluid designs.

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